The Case For Tanner Houck As Red Sox Closer

Eye Of The Tiger

When it comes to the ninth inning, I believe there’s nobody better suited for that role than Tanner Houck. The Boston Red Sox pitcher has that same fire in his eyes that former closer Jonathan Papelbon had – and it’s exactly what you want to see in a late-inning reliever.

Houck has the stuff to be a successful closer, too. His fastball clocks in around 94-97 mph and has a sharp slider that can be difficult for hitters to square up, often making them swing wildly.

If it were up to me, I would sit Houck down and say, “We trust you, we believe in you, and we’re going hand you the ball to get the final 3-6 outs of close games.” From there, it will be sink or swim, but given the opportunity, there’s no doubt in my mind that Houck would thrive in the ninth inning.

Tanner Houcks 2021 Highlights

Red Sox Have Struggled To Find An Answer Late In Games

I always say that you either want your ninth-inning guy to be completely calm or a little bit crazy. Houck seems to have the confidence and personality to be successful in that all-important role.

The Red Sox have struggled to find a consistent answer at closer since Craig Kimbrel left town. They’ve tried several different options, but none have been able to lock down the role on a long-term basis. So why not give Tanner a chance?

They could also use him for two innings if need be, given that he’s stretched out from pitching in the starting rotation. Someone you can bring in for the big outs in a ballgame is what will take the Red Sox to the next level.

Houck has the potential to be that answer. He’s got the mentality and the pitches to get big outs when it matters most. It’s time to let him show what he can do in the ninth inning. What do you think?

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